Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances

Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, and Rose Lerner. Courtney Milan, $4.99 e-book (376p) ISBN 978-1-937248-59-8
Eliza Hamilton’s decades-long project of collecting stories about her husband, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, frames these three delightful novellas of marginalized characters falling in love during and after the American Revolution. In Rose Lerner’s “Promised Land,” set in 1781 Yorktown, Rachel Mendelson, serving in Hamilton’s battalion in the guise of Cpl. Ezra Jacobs, arrests Nathan, the husband she abandoned, believing him a Loyalist spy. Lerner creates a charmingly idiosyncratic hero in Nathan, who courts his independent, risk-taking wife from his prison cell, breaking down seemingly intractable differences in their practice of Judaism and political allegiances. Courtney Milan’s “The Pursuit Of...” also begins in Yorktown, where Cpl. John Hunter, a black soldier fighting for the colonies, helps British army officer Henry Latham go AWOL. In return, Henry joins John’s search for his family. Henry’s indefatigable good-natured idealism (he recites “the Declaration of Independence as if it were a prayer”) softens John’s aloofness, awakening hope, and their unexpected friendship and love grow over decades of living that idealism together. In Alyssa Cole’s “That Could Be Enough,” set in 1820 Harlem, Mercy Alston, maid and writing assistant to Eliza Hamilton, falls for indomitable seamstress and businesswoman Andromeda Stiel. Their love blooms through correspondence: “Mercy’s letters... were like a flower unfolding.” Spurred by widowed Eliza’s urging that “if you have a chance to forgive, or be forgiven, do not wait,” Mercy finds the courage to take risks for love. Strong, appealing protagonists, witty dialogue, and well-researched history make these three stories shine. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
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